Sunday, May 23, 2010

project excitement!

Ever create a project that you just can't wait to see finished? I'm talking about the projects that require blocking or assembling, so you dont get to really see how it looks unitl it is done and off the needles (or whatever other creating medium you may be using). 

I'm working on the Tappan Zee short sleeved cardigan from  I had 4 balls of this really lovely plum colored yarn with some sprakly stuff woven in that my friend Suna gave me as a going away present.  When I was organizing my yarn stash on my shelf as I was unpacking, I was setting it with my other DK weight yarn (I prefer to organize my yarn by weight) and happened to set it next to 2 random balls of knit picks swish DK in a chocolate brown.  I normally would never think plum and brown would go together, but these two blend beautifully.  I think the plum must have a bit of a brown undertone to it.  It looked so pretty together that I decided I'd have to make something with both of them.  I had it set aside waiting for inspiration to hit, and then the latest knitty came out.

I don't usually like knitting sweaters.  I refuse to knit any that require assembling.  Nothing with sleeves that have to be sewn in, or a back and separate sides.  Nope, too much hassle, and the one or two I've attempted were never finished because once i got the first couple pieces off the needles, I was bored.  Similar to second sock syndrome.  So, nope.  I have since decided that if it isn't some sort of seamless sweater, like a raglan, then I wll probably never make it.  I've also never really considered doing a sweater in Dk weight because I'm not a small person and don't feel like knitting a large garment in small needles.  However, the Tappan Zee sweater is a top down, seamless, cap sleeve cardigan.  I loved the pattern when I first saw it so I did what I always do when I find a pattern I like; I went to ravelry to see what others had done with the pattern.  That's the best way to see if the pattern is easy or to see what modifications people have come up with that you might like to do.  lo and behold, I saw one that caught my eye.  She had done it in 2 colors, with the top half one color and the bottom another.  I immediately thought of my 2 yarns that had formed an unlikely pair on my shelf.  This pattern is PERFECT for these yarns!  The top half is fancy, with a simple lace design worked in, and is perfect for the sparkly stuff.  The dark brown will be great for the bottom half, it is simple stockinette and the brown will (hopefully!) be slimming.  Near the bottom is on repeat of the diamond lace in each corner and then a few garter rows, depending on how far my dark brown goes I may do those in the plum.  I'm hoping to do the lace in the brown then the garter border in the plum.

The most exciting part is that I just finished the top part and bound off the sleeves, so I was able to sort of try it on.  I didn't put it all the way around because I didn't want to have to put it on scrap yarn and I didn't want to lose any stitches, but I tried on one side and it fits perfectly!  I will have to block it wuite a bit to show off the lace pattern, it scrunches a lot, but it looks beautiful.  I know, I know, I'm tormenting you by telling you how great it looks and then not showing you any pictures.  I emailed myself a reminder to take a photo tomorrow when the light is good, though.  I promise I will post one very soon. 

Off to knit on my sweater some more!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The "Ah-ha!" moment

last night I taught my first official knitting class.  I've taught informal ones before, showing friends how to do toe-up or 2 at a time socks, but never a real class at an LYS.  I had 3 students and was a bit worried when one gal said she's only been knitting for a few months, had never even done increases, and another gal was pretty new to knitting too.  The third had done socks before but not toe-up.  I know her from my knititng group, and I feel kind of bad bc she wanted to learn 2 at a time but the class is for 1 at a time and with the other two being somewhat newbies, I didn't want to confuse them.

First up was Judy's Magic cast-on, from  That's IMO the hardest part of the class, and it can be a bit disheartening since that's what they start with.  I had hand-outs, and I brought some worsted weight yarn to demo with so they could see better what I was doing.  The vetran got it pretty quickly after casting on once or twice.  The other two had some trouble, one got it cast on after a few tries but then started knitting on the wrong side.  The other gal had an awful time getting it cast on but finally about halfway thru the class, there was that AH-HA moment.  You know the one, the moment where things just CLICK, and you're like "Oh, I get it!" and it is somewhat smooth sailing from there.  All of a sudden they just got it.  It was great!  I showed the newbie how to do a kf&b increase and how to recognize if it was a row to increase on or not, even drew an example on the chalkboard!  I felt like a real teacher!  LOL.  By the end of class they were all at least halfway thru the toe!  One of them said "I'll admit, I was worried in the beginning that I was going to be dropping out of this class, but this really isn't as hard as I thought it would be!"  So that is encouraging. 

Their homework was to finish the sock thru the gusset so they could work on the heel next week.  I told them if they didn't get that far it is OK, we could work on it the following week.  It is a 3 week class, but the 3rd week is just the cuff ribbing and cast off, so they can probably handle it by themselves.  I also gave them my email addy in case they had problems. 

This is fun.  I enjoy teaching, I think I'm patient enough to be good at it, and I get to make a little extra yarn money.  WOOHOO!